ForumIAS: Facts in News (September 1st – 8th)

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Read summaries of all important News Articles

Facts in news is published on a weekly basis that consists a gist of all crucial news articles from ‘The Hindu’ that may bear relevance to Civil Services Preparation.

Here is the Summary of all current happenings from around the world for the first week of September.

Download summaries of all important News Articles here.

Bills, Programs, Policies, Schemes, Orders, Judgments
BJP States tell police to push back Rohingya• The Centre is yet to spell out its stand on undocumented Rohingya.
• But BJP-led State governments in Assam and Manipur have asked their police, especially in the border districts, to push back anyone who tries to cross the border.
Co-ops. should help farmers double their income: Modi• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked cooperatives to come up with innovative business ideas to help farmers double their income by 2022.
• There are several sectors where the cooperative sector can help make a positive difference.
• He asked cooperatives to venture into new business areas like beekeeping and seaweed farming to help farmers double their income by 2022 and boost the rural economy.
• Observing that cooperatives were mainly present in sugar and dairy sectors, the Prime Minister said the cooperative system suited to India and there was a need to foray into new areas.
• He said sectors like neem oil production and beekeeping are fertile grounds for cooperatives to step in.
• Even in fishery sector, additional work can be provided to fishermen during off-season by encouraging them to go in for seaweed farming.
50,000 new beneficiaries to be added to govt pension scheme• About 50,000 new beneficiaries are likely to be added to the Delhi government’s pension schemes for senior citizens by the end of September, Social Welfare Minister.
Social Welfare Department :
• The Social Welfare Department is in the process of adding new beneficiaries to its scheme, which has about four lakh beneficiaries currently.
• For 2017-2018, the Delhi government had proposed 1,595 crore for its social welfare pension schemes, including the one for senior citizens and the differentlyabled. 5
7 index points identified for urban health mission• Seven index points have been identified for review of progress of the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) in Rajasthan.
• The new index points for review were establishment of Mahila Arogya Samitis, role of district officers in their performance, holding of outreach camps and nutrition days, land allotment for PHCs, monitoring of Bhamashah health insurance scheme and its physical and financial performance.
Punjab okays crop loan waiver scheme• The Punjab government on 20th September, 2017 gave its nod to notify the crop loan waiver scheme.
• The proposed notification will pave the way for the State government to take up the issue with respective banks as a one-time settlement.
• The scheme will directly benefit nearly 10.25 lakh farmers across the State. The Cabinet also cleared a proposal for amendment to sections 72, 78 and 81 of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, to check smuggling of liquor in the State.
Aadhaar to be linked to driving licence• Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday announced that after linking Aadhaar to PAN cards, the Union government would now link it with driving licences as well.
• The measure would help check the menace of multiple licences.
Bill to enhance salary of MLAs tabled in Odisha• Four Bills were introduced in the Odisha Assembly on Friday seeking enhancement of salaries, allowances and pensions of Ministers, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and MLAs.
• Once the Bills are passed, a legislator would get about 1 lakh per month as salary and allowances
• A minister will get 97,000 and the Chief Minister would avail of 98,000.
• The monthly salary and allowances of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker would be 97,500 and 95,000 per month respectively.
• The Government Chief Whip would draw a monthly salary of 97,000 per month, while the Deputy Government Chief whip would get 93,000.
SC issues notice on student safety• Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud issued notices and sought the responses within three weeks from the Union Human Resource Development
Centre plans to borrow for infra development• To break low performance leading to low budgetary allocation, the Urban Affairs Ministry is planning to go for market borrowings to incentivise good performance by the States.
• This planning comes up to overcome the severe infrastructure deficit accumulated over long years a huge order of investments is required, to meet various contingencies and to ensure fund availability to meet the targets under the new urban mission.
Pay relief in cases of unnatural jail death: SC• The Supreme Court on 15th September, 2017 directed the Chief Justices of all High Courts to register petitions suo motu to identify the kind of prisoners who died unnatural deaths from 2012 and order the States to award them compensation.
• It is important for the Centre and the State governments to realise that persons who suffer an unnatural death in a prison are also victims, sometimes of a crime and sometimes of negligence and apathy or both.
• There is no reason at all to exclude their kind from receiving compensation only because the victim is a criminal
• Normally, the National and State Human Rights Commissions award compensations in cases of custodial torture and deaths.
National Issues
Centre not releasing funds for Swan river project• The work on the 922 crore project for channelising the Swan River and its 73 tributaries is still in progress, but there has been delay due to shortage of funds.
• The funds are yet to be released by the Centre despite several requests.
FDI in textile industry tripled in three years: Smriti Irani• The textile sector employs the second largest workforce in the country, with 4.5 crore people directly getting livelihood from it and 2 crore people being indirectly employed.
• The textile industry in the country is growing exponentially with the foreign direct investment having tripled in the last three years.
• Concerted efforts were being made for creating employment opportunities in the textile sector.
• The Union government is providing skilling opportunities as well as incentives to give an impetus to the textile industry.
• Though FDI had touched 618.95 million U.S. dollars in 2016-17, there is still a huge potential for further growth.
GST claims ineligible for refunds• A large part of the 65,000 crore of transitional credit claims received by the government under the Goods and Services Tax regime are ineligible for refunds.
• Firms can claim transitional credits for inputs bought and taxes paid before GST rollout.
• The official pointed out that even where claims were accepted, refunds would be done in a staggered manner over months, and not as a single lump sum.
duty drawback scheme must continue • With uncertainties related to the duty drawback scheme continuing, textile exporters are delaying finalising orders.
• The government has not yet given the mandate to the Duty Drawback Committee to recommend the revised duty drawback rates and ROSL (Rebate of State Levies).
• The Government had extended the benefits only up to September 30th.
• Textile exporters need 60-75 days to ship the goods from the time they confirm the orders.
• If there was a delay in finalising orders, they would be unable to ship on time.
• Countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam have trade agreements with the EU and the U.S. and have close to a 10% cost advantage over Indian garment exporters because of nil import duty.
• India can be competitive only if duty drawback and export benefits are continued.
• Textile exporters might not register growth if the duty drawback rates are reduced, he said.
• The Union Government should extend the export benefits till business revived and ensure that the pre-GST export competitiveness of the industry was sustained.
• The Government should also expedite clearing all the pending export benefits, Mr. Nataraj added.
International Issues
40% of Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh• About 40% of the total Rohingya population living in the Rakhine State of Myanmar has now fled to Bangladesh, the United Nations has said.
• Since August 25th, the number of Rohingya refugees who crossed the border has reached 3, 89,000.
India reaffirmed its commitment to Paris climate change agreement.• India on 19th September, 2017 reaffirmed its commitment to the landmark Paris climate change agreement.
• India, which is the world’s third largest carbon polluter, reached a pact, along with more than 190 nations, in December 2015.
• It aims to prevent an increase in the global average temperature and keep it well below 2 degrees Celsius.
India and China post BRICS • In September, Xiamen city of China not only hosted the BRICS Summit, but also witnessed an especially important meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India and China ties:
• First, economic and trade cooperation are gaining momentum. Last year, the trade volume between China and India exceeded $70 billion.
• Second, people-to-people exchanges are thriving.
• Mutual visits between our two countries have exceeded one million.
• Practising yoga, drinking Darjeeling black tea, and watching Bollywood movies have become fashionable among the Chinese youth.
• Third, local exchanges are booming.
• China and India have established 14 pairs of sister cities and provinces.
• Fourth, the two countries have maintained close high-level communications.
• Home town diplomacy initiated by President Xi and PM Modi has become a muchtold story.
• Both leaders have met more than a dozen times on bilateral and multilateral occasions.
• Make in India, Digital India, Startup India and other initiatives have yielded outcomes.
• Signicant measures like the GST Act have been implemented.
Trump signs new sanctions• U.S. President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on 21st August, 2017 that opened the door wider to blacklisting people and entities doing business with North Korea, including its shipping and trade networks, further tightening the screws on Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programme.
• The US President said North Korea’s textiles, fishing, information technology, and manufacturing industries were among those the U.S. could target.
Tweaks to pact with S. Korea mooted• India is looking to plug loopholes in its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea following concerns over a recent sudden surge in imports of gold and related articles from that country.
• The rise has happened due to certain firms, owned and operated by some Indians, allegedly misusing the India-South Korea FTA that allows dutyfree import of the precious metal and its articles.
• GST, the cause Gold imports from South Korea had shot up to about $340 million in the period July 1-August 3, 2017, compared with about $71 million for all of FY17.
• The implementation of the Good and Services Tax (GST) from July 1 led to the import surge.
• Pre-GST, gold imports through the non-FTA channel attracted a 10% basic customs duty (BCD) and an additional 12.5% countervailing duty (CVD), while those from the FTA route were levied a 12.5% CVD (as the FTA eliminated the customs duty on gold imports) which discouraged such gold imports.
• Under the new tax regime, a 3% GST replaced the CVD. This meant gold imports from the non-FTA route attracted 10% BCD and 3% GST, while those from the (S. Korea) FTA channel paid only 3% GST, which could be later claimed as input tax credit.
• In an upcoming trade meeting with South Korea, India will push for inclusion of tighter norms in the FTA on imports of gold and its items to prevent misuse.
• India will insist on a clause in the FTA specifying the criteria of (at least 35%) ‘value addition’ as well as ‘Change in Tariff Sub-Heading’ to ensure that the item has undergone substantial transformation in South Korea, and not been just routed through that country to take advantage of duty-free norms.
All you need to know about Rohingya• The name Rohingya originates from ‘Rohang’ or ‘Rohan’, the names given to those who lived in the Arakan region during the ninth and tenth centuries.
• Another group, the Rakhine people, is the ethnic majority, with a Hindu and Mongol background.
• In Buddhist-dominated Myanmar (88% of the population, with Muslims comprising a mere 4.3%), the Rohingya, who speak a dialect close to Chittagong version of Bengali, have suffered a history of abuse, and since World War II have been fighting for recognition as a distinct ethnic group.
• They were not included in the citizenship law in 1982, and thus become stateless.
• They continue to suffer persecution, including forced labour, confiscation of property, rape and other forms of violence.
• Violence has visited upon on the Rohingya in phases, most notably beginning in 2012, when inter-religious conflict forced them to flee their homeland.
• In 2014, they were refused enumeration during the Myanmar census, the government identifying them as Bengali which they refused.
• In the successive rounds of violence following 2012, thousands of Rohingya fled their homes and sought refuge in Bangladesh, with others moving to Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
• An estimated 87,000 Rohingya had fled Rakhine to Bangladesh since October 2016 when the Myanmar military stepped in to quell insurgents.
• A number of States like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir and States in the northeast enjoy a special status, in the sense they have certain special rights under Article 370 and 371.
• Under that a citizen would not automatically become a domicile in those States.
• In this regard the Chief Minister (Pema Khandu) has written to the Home Ministry stating that those who have been settled in Arunachal Pradesh should be extended Inner Line Permit (ILP).
Economic Issues
Taxpayer rights and obligations• The recommendations of the Tax Administration Reform Committee, submitted to the Finance Ministry in 2014, tried to reintroduce a fair balance between the rights and obligations of taxpayers.
• Several of these recommendations, such as improvement in taxpayers’ service, enhanced use of information and communication technology, exchange of information with other agencies, expansion of tax base, compliance management, etc. have either been accepted or implemented to ensure a better relation between the taxpayer and the tax collector.
• India has also renegotiated the much-abused provisions in some of its DTAAs, namely with Switzerland, Mauritius, Cyprus and Singapore.
• Capital gains-related issues and exchange of information on taxation matters have been better addressed in these amended agreements.
• Taking everything into account, at least the awareness on taxpayers’ obligations and rights seems to be clearer than before.
• While attempts are there to increase the rights and to provide better service for genuine taxpayers, the taxpayers who deliberately abuse tax provisions should not expect much leniency.
• A quest for balance between the rights and obligations of a taxpayer is evidently on, though it still needs to be seen when the right equilibrium between the two is achieved.
Jan.-July tea export volumes rise 4.6%• India’s tea exports have increased 4.6% by volume in the first seven months of 2017, statistics showed.
• Two countries where Indian teas made major inroads were China and Sri Lanka.
• Total exports stood at 121.1 million kg in January-July 2017, against 115.8 million kg a year earlier. India exported 227 million kg last year.
• Three countries have played a prominent role in the current year’s export scenario China, Sri Lanka and Egypt.
Science and Tech
ISRO to be back with launches in Nov-Dec• The Indian Space Research Organisation expects to resume launch of satellites in a couple of months once its failure analysis committee releases its report.
• The committee is conducting tests on why the PSLV-C39 mission of August 31st failed to release a back-up navigation satellite into space
Mumbai team discovers how embryos implant in the womb• Researchers at the National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health (NIRRH) in Mumbai have finally shed light on one of the most important steps in pregnancy i.e. the ability of the embryo to implant itself in the womb.
• Although much is known about the early steps of establishment of pregnancy, very little is known about the communication between the implanting embryo and mother’s womb.
• The researchers have found a crosstalk between the embryo and the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) and discovered a chain of chemical events that facilitate the implantation of the embryo in the womb.
Environmental Issues
Festive fervor leaves Yamuna gasping• Despite orders banning the use of Plaster of Paris (POP) and paints with high levels of lead in idols, the harmful colours could be seen seeping into the soil and water of the ecologically-sensitive area.
• Environmentalists said that the biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the river, a measure of organic pollution, reaches dangerously high levels during Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja.
• Temporary set ups could be created around the ghats and immediately after immersion the idols could be pulled out.
• Strict rules should be implemented in the material used in idols,
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